“If you go down to the Noust today
You’re sure of a big surprise
If you go down to the Noust today
You’ll see them working on the prize.”
The prize is the reward for all their hard work.
Right now that work is of a vital preparatory nature.
The goal is the constructing and launching of a St Ayles Skiff.
You might well be wondering, ‘What is the Noust?’
‘And while we are at it, what is a St Ayles Skiff?’
These are two very interesting questions.
The Noust is a Viking word for a boat shelter,
where long boats would have been pulled up for winter.
On Tiree it is a purpose built boathouse near the pier in Scarinish.
The Noust with its curved frame and ridge;
externally picks up on the traditional Tiree black-top roof
whilst internally the structure was imagined as an upturned boat.
It is here the action is taking place – the construction of the St Ayles Skiff.
The story of the St Ayles started in early 2009.
The Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther in Fife
approached a boat builder to run a boatbuilding course.
Then one Iain Oughtred was commissioned to design a new boat,
that was to be based on the Fair Isle Skiff, a generic form
that is descended from the smaller Viking skiffs.
The ethos of the St Ayles Skiff which arrives as a kit is
‘that it should be built with a low cost,
and that the quality of the boat comes
more from the skill of the builders
than from the depth of the clubs pockets.’
The kit for the skiff should be on Tiree by the end of the week.
The vital kit must first of all be temporarily packed away,
Work can then begin on constructing the building frame.
After that it starts getting technical.
The kit for constructing the St Ayles Skiff consists of
the plywood parts for the frames and the planking.
It also includes the moulds over which the hull is built.
In addition to the kit it is necessary to source the timber
for the keel, hog, stems and gunwales
The St Ayles Skiff has proved to be extremely popular.
No doubt in part to the fact that they are stable and dry.
With a crew of five they have been raced in Force 6 winds,
with 4 ft waves over 13ft swells,
and the only water that came in was from the spray off the waves.
The aim is to be ready in time for the Tiree Regatta.
It has been estimated that building a St Ayles skiff
takes 800 person hours: 100 people @ 8 hours each.
“Easy!” states the director of operations.
This is Life on Tiree reporting from the Noust.